The summer I turned 16 was transformative. The year before, I watched my five cousins perform in the Wizard of Oz. I was blown away by Jump Company’s production. The all youth cast was full of energy and everything about the play was professional quality. I immediately wanted to be part of it.
At the time I was socially awkward, to say the least, but I begged my mom to let me move to Twin Falls for the summer. She arranged everything with my Aunt Valorie and I packed up a few things and left for the “big” city. What happened next had a profound effect on who I have become as an adult.
I wasn’t sure what to expect moving into the “cool” cousins house. I was kicking Nathan out of his bedroom. I would be taking driver’s training with Nick. I was nervous that they would be annoyed having their nerdy cousin tag along to play practice. I’m typing this misty-eyed thinking about how wrong my worries were. Every one of my five handsome, popular cousins treated me with the sweetest kindness for the entire summer. They shared their friends with me. They included me. They made me feel special and loved and beautiful.
They took me on my first date. The way they treated me helped me set high expectations for myself.
Since that summer, I have watched my cousins career with interest and pride. They started an a capella singing group called The Standards a few years after I lived with them. They won all kinds of competitions, made several albums, and toured the country together.Their successes eventually landed them in Nashville, where they are currently recording a Country album under the new band name Spencer’s Own.
In the midst of all of their success, my cousins take the time to visit schools around the country sharing the message that they taught me through their actions many years ago: You are beautiful, from the inside out.
Many thanks to Spencer’s Own for continuing to love and support me. Click here to enter this week’s Eruption Countdown Giveaway, where you can win a signed copy of Morgan’s beautifully illustrated Christmas book, A Night to Remember and the Standard’s Christmas album with the same title. The album is no longer available to the public and is bound to become a collector’s item.